Washington, D.C., December 10, 2008 - Sixty years ago, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The representatives of international broadcasters - BBC World Service, Deutsche Welle, Radio France Internationale, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and the Voice of America – meeting in Paris today, recognized the important contribution the Declaration has made to promoting a better-informed world.
The meeting, at Radio France Internationale, noted the importance of Article 19 of the Declaration, which states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
They said that their organizations must continue to maintain the highest journalistic standards of accuracy, objectivity and truth in upholding the Declaration.
They noted that some governments have been implicated in harassing, detaining, expelling, threatening or - in extreme cases - killing journalists, committed as they are to freedom and information. They also expressed, with regret, the efforts by some governments to contravene the Declaration by interfering with international broadcasts through deliberate blocking of transmitters ("jamming") and blocking of websites.
The broadcasters underlined the continued determination of their broadcast organizations to overcome these obstacles in order to reach the largest possible audiences worldwide, through traditional means - radio and television - as well as the Internet and other emerging digital media.
These new media, they noted, offer unprecedented opportunities for interaction across national borders and between diverse groups of people, in keeping with the spirit of the Declaration, which enshrines the right to "receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
Alain de Pouzilhac, CEO of Radio France Internationale said "Our meeting in Paris was very constructive and I am delighted that the five major international broadcasters share the same desire to broadcast objective and impartial news broadcasts to all publics."
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 134 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.
For more information, call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail email@example.com.